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  President Trump Meets With Irish Prime Minister  CSPAN  March 12, 2020 1:05pm-1:32pm EDT

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and some news breaking today about president trump coming in close contact with the coronavirus. reuters and others are reporting brazilian president's communication secretary has been diagnosed with coronavirus following a second confirmatory today. he accompanied the brazilian president on a recent trip to the u.s. and posted a photograph on instagram standing next to president trump. in the statement, brazil said it had already notified u.s. authorities of the positive test. the hill quotes president trump relative to the incident saying, let's put it this way, i'm not concerned. the president responding to reporters who were in the oval office when asked about those developments today. you can read more at reuters.com and also at thehill.com. president trump today welcomed the prime minister of ireland to the white house. during the meeting he spoke with reporters. this is about 25 minutes. >> well, thank you all very much. it's an honor to be with the
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prime minister of ireland. we've known each other now for quite a while and we have a great relationship. and a great relationship with ireland. we have a lot to discuss. we will be talking about the obvious and we'll also be talking about the virus that's hit the world. i see they've canceled big soccer games, championship games and a lot of other games. they've canceled a lot over in europe and all over the world. so this is a big world problem. we've taken some bold steps. we took the original boldest step of all when we closed very early with china. that helped us save thousands of lives. and we went very early with europe. i think that'll likewise be very good. and hopefully we can get it back together very quickly in terms of re-establishing with china. that's on track -- something happen fairly quickly because they've made a lot of progress over the past three, four weeks.
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and certainly with europe, we think we can can hopefully very quickly. they have some hot spots that are really bad. but germany i guess has problems now. france has some problems, some pretty big problems. and italy of course is probably record setting in terms of what they've gone through. italy is having a very hard time. but we think we'll re-establish very quickly once this ends. and it's just a question of time. i think it'll go pretty quickly. stay away from people and wash your hands and do all of the thungs that we're supposed to be doing a little bit anyway. but it'll go for quickly. i know that we're just talking that ireland's closed their schools. and maybe i could ask the prime minister about what you're doing in ireland having to do with what we're going through. >> first of all, thank you, mr. president, for having us here today leading up to st. patrick's day. just another opportunity to show how close ireland and america
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are. and st. patrick's day has become a symbol of how close america and ireland are and will continue to stay close into the future. the big concern in ireland and europe at the moment as you know is covid-19 and we've acted just as you've acted decisively in the last couple of days. so we have restrictions on travel, for example, to italy for a few days already. but as of tomorrow, our schools will close. we're banning all indoor gatherings of more than a hundred people and outdoor gatherings of more than 500. this is all based on the public health information and our cdc we need to do this for a couple of weeks to make sure the virus doesn't spread. we're particularly trying to protect older people and people with chronic diseases. so we have about 30, 40 cases so far. but we have a real concern that that could rise. and that's why we're taking the action that we're taking. but as you know, it's a virus that's gone pandemic. it's all over the world. knows no borders, knows no
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nationalities. and i think we all need to work together in the world on this. and america in particular, you're the richest country in the world. you've got great scientists, great companies, great universities. and we need them working on treatments, working on tests, and working on a vaccine. >> and we're making great progress there, i will say. >> i was with the vice president this morning who i know is heading up the task force for you. he gave me a lot of confidence that you're getting on top of this and investing in this. >> mr. president, could you confirm if ireland will be excluded from your travel ban that -- your european travel ban? >> well, they know and i think it was made very clear who is and who isn't. we'll be discussing that. we'll be discussing some other moves we're going to be making. i think it's going to work out very well for everybody. but it's a world problem and you do need separation in some cases. you have some areas that are very heavily infected and you have some areas that aren't, frankly. but we do need separation for a little period of time in some
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cases. >> just saying the president has included ireland in the travel ban and one of the things we have in ireland is cbp and they're asking the right questions whether people had been to china, things like that. that puts us in a slightly different position. >> and one of the reasons uk basically has been -- it's got the border. it's got very strong borders. and they're doing a very good job. they don't have very much infection at this point and hopefully they'll keep it that way. >> mr. president, many european leaders are upset they weren't consulted about the travel ban. can you explain your rationale for not consulting? >> well, we get along very well with the european leaders, but we had to make a decision and i didn't want to take time and, you know, takes a long time to make the individual calls. and we are calling and we have spoken to some of them prior to, some of the majors prior to.
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but we had to move quickly. when they raised taxes on us, they don't consult us. i think that's probably one in the same. they've done things, the european union as you know has done some very big tax raises over the years. not so much with me because i won't put up with it, but they haven't consulted us. and the case of european union, i've consulted with many people. well, it'll be a big impact, but it's a bigger impact and also a human impact which is more important, frankly, than the financial. when you lose thousands of additional lives, there's an example of i didn't close very, very early. we close very early with china. and i took a lot of heat including from you people. a lot of heat. they called me racist to everything else. then they say he closed too fast. most of them said why did he close with china. that turned out to be a great move.
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when you think of what happened to europe because it was very furious. a lot of people went from china into europe and europe suffered tremendously. so we've wanted that to stop. >> what are your plans, mr. president, about campaign rallies, about travel? >> right. we had some big rallies. we canceled one that we were thinking about doing in las vegas, as you know. and one in reno, nevada. we had one -- we had about three of them in nevada, actually. and we had four of five of them that we were thinking about. we had a big one in tampa all sold out. over 100,000 requests for tickets. but i think we'll probably not do it because people would say
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it's better to not do. we need a little separation until such time as this goes away. it's going to go away. i was watching scott -- i was watching scott this morning, and he was saying within two months. but, you know, in the meantime, we want to lose as few people as possible. and what is the number as of this morning? is it 32? you could tell me. is it 32 deaths? i mean, think of it. the united states because of what i did and what the administration did with china, we have 32 deaths at this point. other countries and smaller countries have many, many deaths. 32 is a lot. 32 is too many. but when you look at the kind of numbers that you're seeing come out of other countries, it's pretty amazing when you think of it. so that's it. steve, go ahead. >> are you going to invoke the stafford act today declaring a national emergency? >> we have things i can do. we have very strong emergency powers under the stafford act.
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and we are -- we have a -- i mean, i have it memorized practically as to the powers in that act. if i need to do something, i'll do it. i have a right to do a lot of things that people don't even know about. >> are you going to do that today? >> well, i don't want to say that. at some point and maybe some of the more minor things at this point. look. we're in great shape compared to other places. we are in really good shape and we want to keep it that way. that's why i did the ban with respect to europe. >> -- emergency actions that you could take -- >> i have a lot of emergency actions that i could take. yeah. >> what are you looking at to help american workers? >> well, we're looking at a lot of things including paid leave. and we're looking at many things. we're also making sure they're going to get their salaries. we have other workers, too, and those are people that work for tips and nobody thinks about them. and we're including them in a lot of our schedules. we're also making sure that the companies which are good companies stay solvent, have the money necessary to keep functioning.
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so we have a lot of things that we're working on with the financial markets and it's going to work out fine. you have to remember the stock market as an example is still much higher than when i got here. it's taken a big hit but it's all going to bounce back and bounce back very big at the right time. >> when will you decide for the american workers -- >> well, we're deciding right now. and we're dealing also prior to even the stafford act, we're dealing with the democrats in congress to see what can be done. i happen to think that a payroll tax cut would be a very good idea, very distributed -- really distributes it very evenly among middle class and other workers. i mean, many workers. it would be a great thing. i happen to think it would be a great thing even beyond this, okay? so we're looking at the payroll tax cut. that won't come immediately because that's a stronger measure, but we are looking to do that. and i think at the right time,
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congress will probably go along with it. because it really is the most sensible thing. we had the biggest bankers in the world here yesterday giving their opinions. they all thought payroll tax cut would be a great idea. >> do you support -- >> no, because there are things in there that have nothing to do with what we're talking about. it's not a way for them to get some of the goodies that they haven't been able to get for the last 25 years. always. always. always just like your prime minister. always. not only welcome, loved. we have millions -- what is the number now, would you say? changes every year. gets actually bigger. >> about 35 million. >> got to be one of our biggest. no, we love the irish. >> do you support irish citizens getting access to the visa? >> we're going to be talking about that today. it's a very important part of our conversation. that's going to be actually a
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very important part of our conversation today. >> are there concerns about huawei and its operations in connection with countries like ireland? >> well, i think there's a lack of security. if they use huawei, there's a real problem with intelligence and intelligence security and we'll see what happens. we'll discuss that point also. >> can americans still bring back coronavirus under this new travel restrictions? >> can't what? >> can't an american still bring back coronavirus? >> sure, but we have them heavily tested. if an american or anybody is coming back, we have tremendous testing set up where people coming in have to be tested. and if they are positive and if they're able to get through because if they're -- frankly, if they're not, we're not putting them on planes if they're -- if it shows positive. but if they are -- if they do come here, they have to -- we're quarantining. it's going to be a strong enforcement of quarantine. look. the key is you have to have
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separation. we have to have separation or this thing takes long tore go away. but the real, really important and i think you can say this for your country and for all countries hopefully, it goes away. it's going away. we want it to go away with very, very few deaths. people have, you know, we call it cases. how many cases do you have. well, relative to other countries, we have very few countries. relative to certain of the major countries that really have a bigger problem than us. we've offered -- interestingly, i think we have the greatest doctors in the world. we've offered iran assistance. iran is having a tremendous problem. and we have offered iran assistance if they'd like it, we will help them. we'd be glad to help them. [ inaudible question ] yeah, yeah. i'd rather not say. but let's just put it this way.
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you will see. okay? but i can't say. i was working on that last night also. they sent a lot of rockets down. it hasn't been fully determined it was iran. it was a rebel group, but most likely looked like it could be backed by iran. and we'll see what the response is. [ inaudible question ] i always want him to return because he's a friend. we've been doing this now for quite a while. we started off both new to the job. yes, i would always like to see him. they have other people that i know and get along with well. we get along with the country, but this is a very special guy. >> we'd like to see you back in ireland again. >> we'll get there. [ inaudible question ] >> that's of course a matter for the american people, but president trump and any american president is always welcome in
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ireland. >> -- say to bolsonaro who may have the coronavirus. are you aware of that? because you were in contact with them. >> yeah, i did hear something about that. we had dinner together in florida at mar-a-lago with the entire delegation. i don't know if the press said he was there. if he was there, he was there. but we did nothing very unusual. we sat next to each other for a period of time. had a great conversation. he's doing a terrific job in brazil. and we'll find out what happens. i guess they're being tested right now. let's put it this way. i'm not concerned. >> we heard from an emergency room physician in houston -- was showing symptoms of something, tested negative for the flu. this physician wanted to test this person for coronavirus and got caught in what this doctor described as infinite loop of stupid trying to get through to
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the public health agencies in texas, trying to get permission for this person to be tested. is there something you can do as the president to try to -- >> well, no. yeah. i was watching. they have a million tests out now. they're going to have over the next few days, they'll have 4 million tests out. and frankly, the testing has been going smooth. if you go to the right agency, if you go to the right area, you get the test. now, with that being said as you know, millions are being produced. this is a brand new thing that just happened. but millions are being produced. if you go back and look at the swine flu and what happened with the swine flu, you'll see how many people died and how actually nothing was done for such a long period of time as people were dying all over the place. we're doing it the opposite. we're very much ahead of everything. >> this person did contact the direct authorities but they were closed. for the day, they were on hold for an hour. >> you're talking about one case. i could certainly look into it. it's one case.
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i've heard also it goes well. i watched scott gottlieb who was with us and i like and respect him. he was talking about how we have so many different incidents. some cases like in california where we have too many. and the other case, distribution could be better for certain areas. but we've done a good job on testing. you might ask scott about it, actually. >> you broke with tradition today, mr. trump. you're not going to pelosi's annual lunch. >> no. i won't be going. i'm very busy. >> the restriction on europe is 30 days. is it possible you may need to extend it? >> sure, it's possible. and it's possible i could also say that we could end it early. but i thought it was an important thing to do because of what's happening over there. >> is that -- you know, what you said now, does that mean that's it? >> well, i think the democrats
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won't be having rallies. but nobody showed up to their rallies anyway so what difference does it make? i'll be -- my rallies are very big. they're very big rallies. and we'll be making a decision at the appropriate time. the next one scheduled is for the 25th. and that's in tampa. but we'll have to see whether or not i do it. i'm not going to do it if i think it's going to be negative at all. if we haven't made that turn yet. we'll make the turn. the question is when and the question is how many people will die. and i don't want people dying. that's what i'm all about. i made a tough decision last night and a tough decision a long time ago with respect to china. i don't want people dying. that's why i made these decisions. whether it affects the stock market or not, very important. but it's not important compared to life and death. so i had to make that decision. and frankly the people praise the decision. it's something i had to do.
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i think you'll see the end result is good because of it. it'll take a period of time. on the rallies, we'll make that decision. but at this moment, we don't have -- i was going to las vegas. i was going out to nevada as i said. i was going to colorado where we have cory gardner running and he's doing a great job. by the way, he's done a fantastic job. but we've postponed that. i think we're going to have cory coming in here. maybe on friday. we're going to do our event from the white house. but we have a lot of things we're moving around because it's happening. and because i want to be here. i want to be right here. i don't want to be flying around in airplanes all over the place. i want to be right here. i'm not -- you'll -- actually, people said, you know, you're dealing with people that maybe you don't want to deal with them. i said you're right about that.
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>> i'm wondering if the secret service counseled you about straying too far from the white house. >> they have not, but it's common sense. you know, a lot of it is and what i say is use common sense. like washing hands and, you know, certain things. keep a little bit of distance away. that's why the sporting events are a little bit tough. because you have people sitting in small seats right next to each other. so it's a little bit tough. what happened with the nba is pretty incredible, but you look over in europe and you see their big soccer matches were canceled. it's pretty amazing when you think of what happened and how fast this spread to the world. it was one country, then it was four countries, then it was nine. i'm reading this list every week. then it was 13, then it was 22. and now i guess it's over a hundred countries. so it's an amazing thing how fast this one spread. this is a very fast spreader. >> any more thoughts about the tokyo olympics? >> no, i just wish the prime minister -- he's a great friend of mine, prime minister abe.
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and i wish him luck. they did a perfect job. the venues are incredible. he was proudly showing me pictures of what they'd done the last time i was with him. this was before this came up. and i said what a job. and they built it very well. they built it on budget, even under budget. and they're beautiful facilities. i don't know. it's very possible -- it's very possible that for the olympics, maybe -- i just can't see having no people there. in other words, not allowing people. maybe and this is just my idea, maybe they postpone it for a year. maybe that do that if that's possible. maybe that's not possible. i guess it's never happened with the olympics. although i think there was interruption for wars. right? it was canceled or interruption. but i would say maybe they postpone it for a year. it's a shame because really, you know, i used to be in the real estate business as you probably heard. they built some -- i built
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beautiful buildings and they built some beautiful buildings. >> would you make a recommendation to prime minister shinzo abe? >> no. they're very smart. i like that better than i like having empty stadiums all over the place. cancel it, make a year later, that's better than doing it with no crowd. >> -- shaking hands with foreign prime ministers? >> we didn't shake hands today and we looked at each other and said what are we going to do? sort of a weird feeling. we did this. you know, i just got back from india and i didn't shake any hands there. it was easy because they go like this. japan goes like this. they were ahead of the curve. we looked at each other and said -- and we also had a lot of press staring at us. are we supposed to shake hands? and when his group of very smart representatives came in who i know, likewise. it was a strange feeling. i was never a big hand shaker as you've probably heard. but once you become a politician, shaking hands is
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very normal. and it's a very strange feeling when people that you know and like, they walk up and say hi and they're just like this. we were saying it's a little bit -- >> it feels impersonal or feels like you're being rude, but we just can't afford to think like that for the next few weeks. >> could you talk about the trickle through effect of everything that we're seeing here? like when you cancel an nba season, you're losing all of the revenue. that will alter the entire economy. >> it has an obvious effect. the only thing is you could lose thousands and thousands more people if you didn't do it the way we're doing it. it certainly has an impact. and again, we're very much working with the states. you know, the states are a smaller form of government. they can control individual arenas and individual things better. and it's different for different areas. some areas have no problem whatsoever in our country. and others do. so we're working with the
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governors of the various states. i think it's working very well. i think the relationship has been very good with california and some others that in particular have been hit. >> it looks like you'll be facing joe biden now in the presidential run. are you happy? >> yeah. i'm happy. whoever it is, i hope they make their choice soon. everybody thought it was going to be bernie. and i've said elizabeth warren, if she waited for -- she waited that extra three days, four days and super tuesday was a disaster, he would have won every one of those states or i think almost every one of those states. maine, massachusetts, texas. you take a look at the states that were very close. and many of her -- i would say most of her -- i would almost say all of her votes would have gone to him. so had she left prior to super tuesday which is just a few days, he would have right now been declared virtually the winner. it would have been over. but right now we have joe and i'm very happy to run against
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joe. don't forget, one of the reasons i ran for president is because of joe and the job they did. so it's one of the reasons. so in a way, it's, you know, it's maybe the way it should be. but it looks to me like it would be biden would win. >> are you worried that the irish-americans won't go for joe? >> -- travel restrictions within the united states to washington state or california? >> we haven't discussed that yet. is it a possibility? yes. if an area gets too hot. you see what they're doing in new rochelle which is good. it's the right thing. it's notten forced, it's not very strong. but people know they're being watched. new rochelle, that's a hot topic. >> you spoke to the saudi crown prince the other night. what did you tell him about the oil market? >> i asked him what's going on and they're having a dispute with russia. this is something that drove oil prices down. and one thing i can tell you is that oil prices are at a point
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now that i would have dreamed about. because the gasoline prices are going to be coming way down. they'll be coming way down. so with gasoline prices coming down, that's like a tax cut. frankly, that's like a big tax cut, not a little tax cut for the consumer. so there's something about that that i like. thank you very much, everybody. thank you. thank you very much. follow the federal response to the coronavirus at c-span.org/coronavirus. you can find white house briefings, hearings with key public health officials and interviews with public health specialists. review the latest events any time at c-span.org/coronavirus. and some congressional news on the coronavirus. today florida senator rick scott announced he's going to self-quarantine following potential contact with a brazilian delegation member who
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tested positive for coronavirus. in a statement, senator scott said my office was alerted today by the brazilian embassy that a member of bolsonaro's delegation tested positive for coronavirus. while i do not believe i interacted with the infected person, that individual was in the same room as me. after consulting with the attending physician and my personal doctor, i've been told my risk is low and i don't need to take a test or quarantine, however, the health and safety of the american people is my focus and i've made the decision to self-quarantine in an abundance of caution. earlier today, the house oversight committee held a hearing on the pandemic with dr. redfield and dr. anthony fauci. they updated committee members with the latest on the government's response to the spreading virus.